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KEY LINK: Hilton Ascend card can be found on our top credit card offers page here. Currently in addition to the lounge passes, you can get 100,000 Hilton points as a bonus – 75,000 after spending $2000 in the first 3 months and an additional $1000 spend in the first 6 months
Some of the best perks of premium credit card products are the lounge memberships they offer. The Citi Prestige card used to offer Admirals Club access along with a Priority Pass membership (the former has been dropped). American Express Platinum products offer Priority Pass as well, along with access to Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, Delta Skyclubs (no guesting), and American Express’ own Centurion Lounge network.
In my opinion, the best card for large families looking for lounge access had been the Chase Sapphire Reserve since it allows unlimited guesting. The American Express Platinum unfortunately changed their Centurion Lounge Policy last year (SEE: Amex devalues Centurion Lounge access; sticks it to families), leaving you with zero lounges that allow unlimited family guesting with a Platinum card.
But now we may have another, somewhat unique, contender for lounge access for families.
Hilton Ascend Amex card Priority Pass membership
In case you were unaware, Hilton just rebranded one of its Hilton cards and launched two new ones as part of an exclusive deal with American Express (SEE: Taking a closer look at the new Hilton cards from American Express). One of the perks of the Ascend card (formerly the Surpass) is a Priority Pass membership. It has actually had this “perk” for a while, but I never gave it any weight. The “membership” still costs you $27 per person per visit, which is hardly a deal.
However, the revamped Ascend card now offers 10 free Priority Pass lounge passes per year. This is a potential game changer for families who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a premium product for lounge access. The new Ascend card has an annual fee of $95, which is significantly less than the $450 or $550 commanded by premium cards. And it may give you all the lounge access a family needs.
Passes in lieu of full membership?
There are ways to make premium credit cards well worth the fee, but it often involves visiting lounges frequently and taking advantage of a lot of free food and drink. The CSR can arguably be worth it for the increased redemption rate through the UR portal, the 3x travel earning, and the $300 travel credit.
But what about the family that travels maybe once or twice per year? The lounge passes from the Hilton Ascend card would cover 2 visits for a family of five. Have each spouse pick up the card, and now you have four visits for a family of five, or five visits for a family of four. This could be more than enough for some people’s situations (ours included).
The one big question was whether the passes could be used for multiple people in a given visit. If they were limited to one per visit, or only for the actual cardholder (essentially the same thing), the previously described plan is defunct. But…per Miles to Memories, it looks like you should indeed be able to use multiple passes per visit, making this a great option for family lounge access!!
There have definitely been some reports of lounges being full when trying to use a Priority Pass membership. I’m not sure if the passes will make it harder to get into a lounge if capacity is an issue. I feel that Priority Pass would probably treat them the same way.
We will have to wait and see this in action to confirm once and for all if the new Hilton Ascend card is one of the best cards for Priority Pass access for families with limited travel. I sure hope it is, as my wife and I have three Ascend cards between the two of us.
I was thinking of product changing my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Sapphire Reserve this month (SEE: Should I upgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Reserve?), as the annual fee just hit. This would mean dropping my business Platinum, as I can really only justify one premium card. With a family of 5 now, the lounge access with unlimited guesting, $300 travel credit, and 1.5 cents per UR seems more appealing than the perks of the business Platinum.
Except that the Hilton Ascend card just changed the lounge access question, so now I am not so sure.
You can find the Hilton Ascend card on our top credit card offers page here. Currently in addition to the lounge passes, you can get 100,000 Hilton points as a bonus – 75,000 after spending $2000 in the first 3 months and an additional $1000 spend in the first 6 months
What would you do? Are you looking forward to the new Priority Pass passes offered by the Ascend card?